When Is Too Much Too Much?

June 19, 2012

 If you just knew more, then you could make the decision. Right? Maybe you think you need more information before taking action. Learning is a good thing. Education is valuable. But is it always?

You can reach a point of diminishing returns and you need to discern when this moment is. When I used to work in hospitals and medical centers, there was a lot of research showing that educating the patient was critical for the best outcome. This is true. We need information to make the best decisions for ourselves. Understanding why is often motivating.

However, I was always referred the people AFTER they had been quite educated. Adherence to medication or any type of recommended regimen was very low with them, even when their physicians gave them more and more information. Why?This was a UCLA teaching hospital and the level of care was very high. The physicians and residents were very good at giving information to the patients. The people I saw had been told, informed and lectured about the consequences/effects of NOT complying yet they still didn’t follow through.

Maybe you can see where I am going with this.

Maybe you have found yourself in a situation where you know what you should do, yet you don’t do it. You keep trying to collect more data. Why? If this has persisted over time, I doubt that the answer is to get more information. You already know what you want/plan to do.

If there is a lack of knowledge and direction is not clear, you want to pursue understanding. If you have enough information to move forward/take action. Why aren’t you? This is where the juicy stuff is, in the answer to this question.

At a particular point, additional knowledge no longer has an effect on follow-through/action/compliance.

Ask yourself, is there a particular area in your life where you have been accumulating information and nothing seems to be moving/shifting/changing? Perhaps in your relationship, at work or in your physical or emotional state of being? How much more information do you need before you take action? And, be honest. And how much time are you giving yourself to collect this data before you act?

I’m all for education. It is critical to our growth and development as human beings. And yet, many people spend more time accumulating information than doing what it is they know they are meant to do or being who they want to be.

Just one question this month. Use it when you wonder why you seem to be spinning around and around the same area without any change. Maybe you keep signing up for courses or reading books or talking to people, lots of people. Ask yourself this:

How does this serve my greater purpose, my mission in this lifetime?

Your answer will inform you on whether you follow this path or if you instead take action. If there is not clear impact on your purpose or mission, it might be time to put down the books, quiet the talk and take action.

By the way, you learn a lot by taking action.

Let me know how it goes by posting below or on FaceBook or on Twitter. And if you need any inspiration from others who have also walked this path (or if you have a question yourself) tune in to The Dr Laura Ciel Show – On The Edge of Exceptional live or listen to the archives.